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And make sure that they understand the criteria in the guidelines and then they review those applications and through a formula that has a logarithm we actually ran all the numbers through and the money is divided up in that way. So it is very formulaic it’s is the objective . As we can get it , and we rely on the expertise of our our citizen panels .
So you got 42 different organizations essentially splitting $7 million basically the way it works.
Absolutely not. We have most of our money is divided among those 4 programs one program has about 42 applicants neither one has a 150 so we get about 200 grants over 200 grants every year divided over those 4 programs that’s about I don’t know $4.8 million . We also have a building . We have other programs . People think of us as only a grant-making organization , but we actually have other the programs as well in the building and and Delmar Loop right across from the pageant .
So I would come to you , if I were a small theater group , for instance , for instance , and just say that this is what we’d like to do and go through an application grass.
He would fill out an application process and it’s coming right up in in November. First , you do a letter of intent and tell us where basically who you are and which are about and we make sure you qualify to even receive the money in the first place and then you’d fill and application , and then that application would be reviewed by that panel . And then we would apply the formula and you’d get a rating on in Ireland 9 .
Let’s come back to some of the objectives that you have now following in these , these 2 years of study and research. Among the things that I know you want to do is kind of lift the IFS areas social consciousness yeah through the arts . Yes . How in the world would that work .
Well , you know we already do that we have a program called the community arts training Institute , which has been around for more than 20 years , it received a national award this year as a matter of fact , because it’s so effective and it’s been a model for organizations across the country , one of the things we want to do is look at some of the programs that are already happening that I was telling you about that we already fund and say hey Prison performing arts , you’re already in the prisons right now making a difference with the inmates there in in helping them do things like you know shakespeare in hip hop and giving them some are different ways of looking at the world. I think our first steps needs to look at what we’re already doing and what’s really good and saying , hey , that’s a model , let’s invest more in those organizations because they are really hitting the mark what what is really working well . I think what’s really working odd organizations that are deeply embedded in communities , they are less they understand the significance of our community development corporations and our parks and rec centers in so what they’re trying to do is first of all do great art . It’s important that we always ensured that the art that that the people are St Moore’s receives his high quality and then are saying where are people people don’t necessarily get suited up and got of the theater anymore and get dressed up there in the neighborhoods insult those programs that we think are most effective of those that recognize the need to meet people where they are . That’s why festivals are so popular today and you’ll find that street fairs and things like fares when they do work are tremendous opportunities for people to get together .
Just like there is some food deserts in certain communities. I imagine there are art desert as well .
There are in very trying to figure out why that is. We recognize that the same way that in some communities , you don’t have supermarkets or other amenities . You may not have a local theater company or an art gallery for your community , then you have to get in your car and go someplace else . We would like to incentivize a lot of our arts organizations that we currently find to figure out ways to create more satellites in take the programing from those centers out into the neighborhoods and some of them are already do that really well , like that the shakespeare in the Park is a great example of an organization has figured out how to be in Forest Park and how to be in a in a neighborhood as well .
Oh good. When I go back to a funding issue here because it’s been brought to my attention , there’s some of our reporting here at St Louis Public Radio , has been critical of the funding process one criticism was that Barack was placing too much emphasis on evaluating companies rather than simply supporting them .
I find that interesting. I don’t really know why any credible arts organization would not want to be evaluated and the quality of their art . That’s what they’re most proud of , and that’s what they do the best , and one of the things that we encourage artists and arts organizations to do when they apply is tell your story . Hey I don’t I I’m really not a great dancer and I don’t play the violin . So you need to tell me , what makes you a great you know orchestra of what makes a great dance company and there are , you know I I would assume systems in your own field there qualify you more so than just ticket purchases maybe there awards are . I don’t think that your community says that makes you good . Tell us what that is and I think what has happened over the years . Is there some of the organizations aren’t as good at telling your story anymore because they assume that you should now well hey , I’ve been here for 30 or 40 years , you should know who I am when in fact that panel that I was telling you about . They come in , they say , hey , I know a little bit , but I don’t know everything because St Louis after he has so much going on , but let me see what’s in your application , and then once they read the application . Sometimes you know the group’s phone it in and may not do a great job , so . So what we’re trying to do is provide that technical assistance .
There’s a lot of competition for what money is available , so it has to be evaluated and somebody.
Basis , so we look at 3 things we look at the artistic quality , and that’s where we ask the groups to tell tell your story. Tell us why you’re good . We also look at the community benefit and that’s important because we’re a publicly funded agency . We owe it to the people of St Louis to be able to explain to them why this group got money over that group . What are they don’t feel how are they making your life better so we ask the tell us that story in then you know . And then the last thing we , we really look at is the organizational capacity you know how well is your company managed . Are you paying your bills are you paying your artists and and that matters because we don’t want to be responsible for giving money to an organization is going to go out of business tomorrow .
It’s an exciting time ahead for you I can I can see just looking at you , you can see them right in your eyes that you are very excited about what lies ahead.
I am excited. You know I I’ve only been here in this position for 3 years am from St Louis in left right after college and lived in San Diego for 35 years and then came back in 2015 and took over and it’s been delightful .
Being back welcome home. We want to thank you for Felicia Shaw for being with us take you know telling us . So some of the things that lie ahead . And even in the world of the arts . Thank you for having me . It’s been a pleasure . That’s it for today but Monday on St Louis on the air . We will talk about the region’s vibrant writing community and about next weekend’s both first and St Louis and we’ll talk with the Lebanese man who’s making a return trip to this country’s towns named Lebanon .
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